Feeds

Dolphin skin key to subaquatic speed

Flipper fights 'form drag'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The next step in data security

Dolphin skin will be key in future designs of marine vessels, thanks to Japanese research.

Fortunately, this does not spell the end for the sea-going mammals: physicists at the Kyoto Institute of Technology have discovered how the surface of a dolphin's skin reduces drag as it swims, and the findings will help scientists to design more energy-efficient boats and submarines.

The research team wanted to find out what role the dolphin's skin played in reducing 'form drag' - the pressure of water against the skin. Dolphins have extremely soft, flaky skin which they shed every two hours. By modelling how the water flows over the flakes, and how they are eventually shed, the research team was able to conclude that the softness of the skin does reduce friction.

Professor Yoshimichi Hagiwara and colleagues also discovered that as the skin flakes off, it also helps the dolphin through the water: the flakes break up swirling vortices next to the skin that would otherwise slow the animal down.

Professor Hagiwara explains that travelling quickly through water is much more complex than travelling quickly through air. He and his team are now building simulation dolphins to replicate the 'flaking' that allows them to move so fast through water. "This research could help us build boats, ocean liners and submarines using technology based on these natural solutions," he said.

The original paper was published in the Institute of Physics journal, Journal of Turbulence. ®

Related stories

Boffins seek human chimps
Boffins isolate 'blogging gene'
Boffins grow breasts on mice

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.